After randomly coming across the Israeli LGBTQ+ singer, Phoebe Matthews was crushing hard on Alma Kal and had to get in touch. Alma talks about her new album, coming out and her love for Ariana Grande.
The voice came first, sounding pure against the piano in Katan Alay. I continued working but when Sheda came on, my mind was drawn to early Shakira and that similar sound of Rock with a longing. I had to know. I had to look at the name. Alma Kal.
I was hooked and she just kept reeling me in with song after song.
Leib in Pasaj (which translates to Even Though She is Not Mine) is about unrequited love with beautiful lines like “there’s something comforting to know that at least someone is sleeping in a hug”. These words speak to loving someone so much that you want them to be happy, even if that happiness is without you.
Sheda (Demoness) deals with losing ones mind while chasing love. Prayer, a song that samples Kiddush Neshamot (My Name is Sacred to Me), is filled with relatable and emotional lines such as “Give me more this time, I will not run out” and “give me some light”. Boker Tov (Good morning) is about not wasting time and living for today. “Today is the first day of the rest of your life!”, “there is no time to being or not being”. So true.
I actually came across Alma Kal by accident. I was searching the internet looking for music. Something different. When I fell upon Alma’s voice and her addictive beats, I was instantly drawn. Though I did not understand the words, they resonated within me, enough, at least, to spend my time translating. As I found out the meaning of each song, word by word, I became more and more impressed. I found her videos, I added it all my playlists but I knew i needed more. I had to reach out.
Alma Kal is a 21-year-old musician from Rehovot, Israel. Last year she debuted her first single Sheda off her newly released debut album Tefillah. In the process, she unintentionally announced to the world that she is a lesbian. She has gone on to perform at all of Israel’s Pride parades, including Tel-Aviv. As I got to chat to her amongst her busy schedule, I found a woman with a gentle soul and a great sense of humour.
Hi Alma, how would you describe your music?
Honest and very diverse. It feels like one of many seasons and many different textures of me. In the album there are many different worlds: pop, rock, ballads, a little bit of jazz, Middle Eastern; A little bit of everything.
It took 2 years for your producer, Tair Sibony, and you to finish Tefillah, after all that work it’s a beautiful album, which track would you most like everyone to hear?
Kol Kulech is just so special to me, I can’t even put it into words.
It was through this album that you came out. What led to that decision?
When you’re not straight you have to come out everyday. Sheda (Demoness) is the song I came out in. When I had the guts to record and then to release it I thought, go hard or go home. I had to go all the way or not go at all. The minute you do something and it is about gay love then it is a coming out song. Sheda turned out to be my coming out song. It wasn’t my intention, but it was a song about love. I don’t regret it.
What inspires you to write?
Stories. Especially when you can see that it is deep when the person is telling it – like a special love or crazy event. A friend tells me about her issues like an eating disorder and it hurts so much that I want to hug her and take her pain away and tell her it will be okay. I tell her story.
What was the last song you wrote about?
Something inappropriate haha.
Now you have to tell me. I’m thinking masturbation?
No, no, no! It is about sex though not me!
I want to know what inspires you. What was the first and last record you bought?
My first was Rihanna. Last was Ariana Grande’s records. All of them. She’s the love of my life haha. I’m crushing on her a little.
If you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life which would you pick?
I can only think of Ariana Grande right now.
If you could share a lineup with any two other artists who would it be? I have a feeling I already know half the answer to this haha!
Ariana Grande and Ed Sheeran.
What was the first LGBTQ+ film you ever saw and what is your favourite?
The first was Lost and Delirious. My favourites are Imagine and Me and You, Below Her Mouth, Montana, Red Cow and Lipstica
Honestly, thank you so much for doing this interview Alma! You know I seriously crush on you right?
I seriously crush on Ariana Grande. (giggles)
Alma Kal’s album Tefillah is available on Bandcamp.